Swamp Women, produced in 1955, was the first film ever directed by Roger Corman. The film follows undercover police officer Lee Hampton after she infiltrates a prison, befriends three female convicts, and helps them all escape. In reality, this planned escape is part of a larger plot to find a diamond stash hidden deep within the swamps of Louisiana.
This is a fairly poor quality copy of the movie, with film splicing of a different print evident from 1:00:30 to 1:00:59
June 4, 2006 Subject:
Swamp Women Swamp Fun
Swamp women rocks!!! It has a fun cheesy story about fugitive women, some bad acting mixed with some `ok' acting, lots of funny dialogue and of-course, many scenes of attractive women rolling around on the ground trying to kill each other while wearing skimpy clothing.
Corman does a nice job with a limited budget (as is his trademark.) squeezing the most entertainment he can out of limited material. We have some nice visuals (I love the moving shots in the swamp) and the style of the film is much more polished than most movies in this budget range. The pacing is quick with very few wasted scenes. Something is always happening in this film and it's never boring for a moment. Even though the story is pretty bad, I still got interested in it and I was excited to see what happened next which is a testament to Corman's technical skill in handling material. For the most part Corman is able to keep the production values from standing out in such a way that they would hurt the films entertainment value. It comes across as a cheap film, but not in a bad way.
The acting is mostly ok with a few really bad performances here and there, but the dialogue is so bad it makes the acting seem horrible. Some of the characters in this film are so over the top that you can't help but laugh at the hilarious things they do and say. They're all Caricatures, but they're funny and it works.
Overall, This is one of the most enjoyable exploitation movies about fugitive women of all time. Of-course that's a pretty limited sub-genre of films, but this one stands out compared to most others. Don't miss it if you're a fan of this type of cinema.
It sometimes happens that a new director will appear on the scene with a gem of a debut which sets the bar so high that the director is never able to clear it again.
Roger Corman's debut movie however sets the bar pretty low, which makes it funny that he should so consistently fail to clear it throughout his subsequent career - see The Terror (also on archive.org) for an example.
In fact, The Masque of the Red Death excepted, I find that the idea of Roger Corman (as a director) is invariably more impressive than Roger Corman on celluloid. There is nothing in Swamp Women to disabuse me of this opinion.
Still, the film remains an object lesson in 'knock em' out cheap' sub-B movie filmmaking. Here are some things which will remain with me from the film:
Small boats can run forever on a tankful of petrol, and can accommodate (invisibly) stores for a party of six for several days.
American womens' prisons in the 1950's were minimal security, but escapees must expect a Marine corps barrage of machine gun fire.
Machine gun fire will not harm you as long as you remember to duck and weave.
Stock footage is cheap. Stock footage is good.
Actually, this is like shooting at fish in a barrel...
PS. The hunka hunka man male lead's (first) girlfriend had to deliver "Oh Brick! You're so strong. Oh Rock! You're so brave..." etc. lines that had my OH climbing up the wall. The script, however, delivered her comeuppance in spades.
Marie Windsor as Josie
Carole Matthews as Lt. Lee Hampton
Beverly Garland as Vera
Touch Conners as Bob Matthews
Susan Cummings as Marie
Lou Place as Captain Goodrich
Jonathan Haze as Charlie (pickpocket)
Edward Nelson as Police Sergeant
Jil Jarmyn as Billie
Screenplay by David Stern
Film editor Ronald Sinclair
Production magager Bart Carre
Make-up Carlie Taylor
Fight advisor Jack Hayes
Head grip Charles Hanawalt
Sound Ben Winkler
Music composed and conducted by Willis Holman
Producer Bernard Woolner
Director Roger Corman